Monthly Archives: December 2014

Pilot Coleto is awesome.

Pen company Pilot makes a multi-pen called the Coleto, usually only available in Japan but JetPens imports them.  You buy a pen body and then whatever colors you want to fill it with, and it’s actually the multi version of the Hi-Tec-C (my favorite gel pen).  I got the 3-color and 4-color bodies.   The 4 is too large for the pen loop on my planner, but the 3 fits perfectly.  I wanted it for my planner because I have appointments for three people to keep track of, and it’s easier to color-code the appointments.  The Coleto is perfect for this.  Also, it’s really cheap.

I don’t really want to use a paper planner, but it’s backup for my iPhone.  My appointments keep disappearing from iCloud.  Not cool.  So paper backup it is…

Happy birthday, Isaac Newton!

Bad blogger, no cookie — ten days since my last entry.  Shame on me.  I’ve been journaling a lot, but it’s been on paper instead of online.

My family has always done Christmas stuff on Xmas Eve, and then Xmas day is for laying around in pajamas and nomming leftovers. So yesterday we ate too much and opened presents. I picked out most of the presents people gave each other as well as the ones I gave, so I really enjoyed seeing everyone open the gifts I’d chosen for them.  I was pretty much on target with all of them, assuming my family members are better at faking emotions than I think they are.  I received some cool shit.  A Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, a sweet Golding mini spindle, some fascinating-looking books, and some little stuff, all of which I liked a lot.

I won’t list everything I chose for other people, but I had to mention that I got the Naiad a Pilot Kukuno from JetPens and I think she’s now hooked for life on fountain pens.  While I was napping earlier today she ordered herself a Metropolitan like my new one, because she likes mine so much.  (I am so happy with mine, btw.  Writes wonderfully and has instantly become a favorite.)  This weekend I’m going to ink up some of my pen collections so she can see what different styles and nibs feel like.  She’s very excited.  Makes me happy.

Random stuff:

  • Got a B+ in my class.  Must have done better on my mock therapy session than I thought!
  • The Naiad will be here permanently Jan. 6th.  Which is good, because driving to get her twice a week sucks.
  • Awesome Niece was here from Sunday to yesterday.  Goddamn I love that kid.  She’s turning into an amazing young woman.
  • I started a new medication today.  Risperdal is replacing my Invega.  Doing the titration now.  Wish me luck.
  • The pocket Moleskine I started journaling in on Nov. 11th is nearly full.  I’ll be starting a new one in a few days.  Looking forward to it.  I also treated myself to a Moleskine 2015 weekly planner, because things disappear from my iCloud calendar on a regular basis.  That’s a problem.  So the Moleskine will be a backup calendar. I need one.

I’ve been sleepy all day because of the new medication.  Bedtime soon, I think…

Semester’s done.

Saturday I turned in my final test.  Now I just have to wait for my grades.  As long as I get at least a C I’ll be happy.  A B would be even better.  I’m not holding my breath for an A, but a B would be nice.

I talked to the grad program at my desired grad school.  Turns out that, since it’s been less than a year since I last applied there, they will automatically use all my old documents and recommendations for the new application.  I just have to rewrite part of my Personal Statement to include my thoughts on diversity and my agreement to adhere by the professional code of ethics.  I suspect this is because a couple of would-be counselors (in psychology, I think, but the end result is being a counselor with either degree) sued their grad schools because the schools expected them to accept diversity.  I actually did a short paper on the subject for my last class.  The students — both Christian women — refused to see clients who didn’t match their sexual morals, and sued when they were kicked out because they felt it was religious discrimination.  In both cases, the respective judges found that students who enter a field of study that has a written code of professional ethics will be held to those ethics, and if they refuse to follow that code then it’s not discrimination against them.  They’re just being bigoted dicks.  (The judges didn’t say that last part.  That’s all me.)  If you’re interested in the cases, btw, summaries are here and here.

Anyway, rewriting my Personal Statement won’t take very long, so my goal for this week is to get that done and complete the application process.  I am nervous as fuck, but there’s no harm in trying again, right?

 

Things I learned on YouTube

I did a search for “ftm transition” on YouTube.  I learned a couple of things.

1) There are a lot of hot FTM guys on YouTube.  They’re all young enough to be my kids, but still: handsome.

2) Young trans men who grow facial hair all have the exact same beard.

3) Never click on a “timeline” video unless you want to watch ten minutes of someone’s entire life in slideshow form (usually set to indie/alternative ballads).

4) Voice comparison videos, on the other hand, are useful.

5) If middle-aged overweight dudes trying for androgyny have vlogs, I can’t find them.  My YouTube-fu has failed me.

Finished my paper!

Yesterday I finished my paper.  The goal was 3-6 pages.  I wrote 5.25.  I actually got a little carried away.  Once I got into it, I got fascinated with existential therapy all over again.  Logotherapy was developed by a Nazi concentration camp survivor, and the short version is that it’s about finding meaning and purpose in life in order to cure existential depression and anxiety.  It’s quite cool.  I didn’t know what it was really about when I picked the topic, and I’m glad I chose it because I think the philosophy of it will be useful for me if I manage to become a social worker.  There’s a lot about respecting the humanity of the client and not just treating them as a problem in need of repair, and that appeals to me.

It’s funny — I read the news or check Twitter and I hate humanity all over again, but I love helping individual people.  I’m awfully caring for a misanthrope.

Related: the Valkyrie linked me to an io9 article about a psychiatrist who had to decide whether or not to council a government torturer in 1940s Algeria.  It made me think.  Being a counselor or psychiatrist is not about activism.  It is not the counselor’s role to convince someone they are doing wrong.  When I was a peer counselor I had regular meetings with a client who was in jail for sexually abusing a child.  It was not my job to make him feel judged, even if I thought he’d done wrong (which he had).  But he was severely mentally ill and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.  There was an issue of competency, and I could empathize with his confusion and illness even if I felt awful for his victim. (He should have been in an institution, not regular jail.  That much was obvious.  But the legal system is awful for people with severe mental disorders.)  But someone neurotypical who chooses to harm others for a living, and wants help in feeling less guilty about it?  I don’t think I could do it.  I would be facilitating torture.

Anyway.  I feel better for having finished my paper.  Tomorrow I’m going to do a mock therapy session with the Naiad for my final project, and then all I have left is a test this week.  I am relieved to not having this paper hanging over me anymore.  The Valkyrie had to kick my ass to get me to work on it, but once I started it just flowed.  That’s the way it usually goes.  Starting is hard, but I love academic writing and research so if I get going I find myself having fun and getting into the zone.

By the way: I went to bed at 8:30pm, got up at 2:30am.  Argh.

Thanksgiving and after

I didn’t blog about Thanksgiving.  It was amazing.  The Valkyrie, the Naiad, my MIL, my mom, my sis, her husband and two kids,my BFF, BFF’s niece, MIL’s German friend, and the German friend’s son.  The son was an ass, but kept to himself.  The rest of us had a blast.  MIL cooked a bunch, and my mom, sis,and BFF all brought homemade food.  We had a dozen dishes plus five pies.  TONS of food.  We did it buffet style.  The only problem was that the dining room table wasn’t big enough for all of us, and the Valkyrie and the Naiad wound up alone at the kitchen table.  It made me sad, but then Awesome Niece went to join them, and other people started wandering over there once they were done eating.  At one point we were all in the living room carrying on, and then Mom, Sis, and I played a couple of hands of gin rummy (the game we used to play when Sis and I was children).  Nephew wanted to play a hand of Go Fish, so we did that too.  Can you believe I’d forgotten the rules?  But, then, I think I was nine the last time I played Go Fish.  So I think I can be forgiven.

The Naiad is here every weekend, now.  I enjoy going to pick her up.  I’ve been going alone because the cheapest (no tolls) way to get to her house is a bumpy road that would kill the Valkyrie’s back.  I don’t mind, though, because she and I get to chat for more than an hour each trip.  We’re becoming quite good friends, I think.  We have shared interests in psychology and writing instruments, and of course we have the Valkyrie in common.  Mostly we talk about trans stuff and books and psychology.  It’s awesome.  I picked her up last night and we talked mostly about HRT on the way home.  And neuroscience versus philosophy on the concept of mind.  And office supplies.  And how if I get my libido back on T we’re going to bang.  She’s awfully cute, and apparently likes oversized girly men.  Oh, myyyyy.

Because of the depression and accompanying apathy I’m 6 days late turning in my paper.  I’m trying really hard to give a fuck.  I’m hoping to finish it today so it’s not a whole week late.  Ever since I finished my last blog post I’ve been staring at my OpenOffice window, trying to figure out where to go next given what I’ve written so far.  It shouldn’t be hard.  I’m good at writing papers.  I once wrote an 8-page paper using dictation software while holding a sleeping cat, and I got an A on that.  Churning out a simple 3-6 page paper should be nothing.

My prof wants me to take my final class in person with her during the second spring semester, instead of taking it online in January.  I’m thinking about it.  Plus that would give me time to get on T and have my hysto.  I like the prof, and I really miss the classroom environment.  Online-only classes fucking suck.  I think my education has suffered because most of my 3rd and 4th year classes have been online.  I’ve learned a lot, but I prefer being in a classroom.

Okay, time to get back to my paper!

Rejecting masculinity

It’s funny.  I was self-defining as genderqueer since I came out, even though it didn’t feel quite right, simply because I dislike the cultural expectations for men.  Then something in my brain clicked over and I realized that I can identify male without buying into all that shit.  So I can be a guy, but a guy who likes Hello Kitty and squees over kitten pictures. It’s kind of freeing, really.  I feel more accepting of myself.  I feel happier because I’m not debating terminology with myself just because of how I appear.  I’m a dude.  Just a girly one.  If I had the body for it I’d totally go for the pretty boy androgynous glam look, all eyeliner and smooth skin.  Totally hot.

As far as cultural expectations go, I’m less likely to get clocked if my voice deepens on T.  I’m a big guy — six feet tall, broad shoulders — but I have a feminine voice unless I consciously work to sound stereotypically masculine.  So I get called “sir” until I open my mouth, at which point it’s “Sorry, ma’am.”  Ugh.  So a voice change would be welcome.

So in the next few months I’ll be on T and getting a hysterectomy.  The hysto is actually for medical reasons, as I’ve said in a previous post, but it certainly won’t hurt the gender thing.  Now, if I could just figure out how to pay for top surgery…

Going on HRT

I’ve been struggling with a deep and persistent depression as of late.   I have brief periods where I feel a little better, but mostly I don’t give a fuck about anything including myself.  I would quit taking my meds entirely if the Valkyrie didn’t make me.  I’ve given up.  I don’t care anymore.

My therapist and the Valkyrie think I should try a low dose of testosterone.  I’ve been resistant to the idea, but apparently low doses can be helpful for dealing with dysphoria (including dysphoria-caused depression) without me turning into Buck Angel.  Therapist has had some trans clients go on small doses to achieve androgyny, which appeals to me.  I’ve always wanted to be on the masculine side of androgynous in the way I look.  So maybe that could work.

If it doesn’t work, T only lasts 8 days in the body, so if I went off it I’d be back to my former self in a week.  So the risk isn’t too terrible.  I’m nervous as fuck, but it seems like a reasonable option and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited.

I wanted to make the appointment today, but the doctor’s office closes early on Fridays.  So I’ll call Monday morning.  I’ll actually be at her office Wednesday with the Valkyrie, so maybe I’ll ask her to just send in the prescription — we’d already done an HRT consultation a couple of months ago, and she should still have my therapist letter on file.  Wish me luck.